Friday, March 4, 2011

Romance with the lens

I was probably 4 or 5 years old when I held my first camera in hand. My dad being a professional photographer, there was absolutely no lack of access to the camera. And absolutely no dearth for our photographs at home too. I have wondered many a time if he practiced on my sister and I more than brides or models!

There would be a million of those photographs where my sister and I would have followed dad’s request and posed with our hands on the hips and smile on the lips! I wouldn’t be surprised if one was bewildered at the sheer number of similar photographs all with the same pose, just with the background/clothes changing! I have never understood how no one in the household ever got tired of that pose!

I hazily remember my first experience with the camera. We were at a park in Ooty and my dad was trying to photograph us in our famed pose. Legend says that I asked my dad if I can photograph and he said NO and as expected, that did not result in a very happy me. I walked away from the scene and I vaguely remember the drama that followed. Mom, dad and sister all had to run, chase me down and bring me back. The end result was I was given the camera to photograph.

I don't remember if I took a nice shot then (or even if I took a shot), but I can safely assume there sparked some sort of a passionate photographer in me. Or it clearly displayed the behavior of an annoying kid. I would like to safely assume the former.

For the next 20 years, the photographer in me would happily hibernate except for occasional moments of volunteering to photograph friends on a trip or people during occasions. Later, circa 2006, the photography desire arose and I bought myself my first Digital SLR camera. Just like most amateur photographers, I got myself an entry level Canon SLR with a kit lens (18-55mm). I was very happy and still remember the solo photo-walk I did around the block near my apartment and awed at the photographs myself. I was one happy camper then.

In a few years, thanks to this incident, I had to buy a new camera. And in the following year, thanks to my job and my spending abilities, I upgraded my camera yet again. I now have a Canon 7D which I think is probably the best money spent so far. And I have a series of 4 lenses, which I'm in the verge of converting to 5.

When I keep updating my equipment, my dad still has the same camera he used during our childhood (Yashica Electro 35). When I saw it during my last visit home, the camera brought back a sense of nostalgia like nothing ever has done before. Our household has a collection of at least 50 photo albums, most of them photographed through our childhood and almost every single photograph shot by my dad. There is even a picture of me running away in Ooty, as my sister was seen obediently posing.

Though I don’t have such a collection, thanks to my ever increasing interest for photography and travel, I have a decent repository of photographs in Flickr. When I sold my first photograph a few months ago, the feeling was unexpectedly rewarding. From that point, I have sold quite a few photographs. And thanks to my good friends, I recently sold a bunch of desk calendars too.

Though my photography has not matured to eke a comfortable living out of it, it makes me happier than anything else. Every time I go out in sub zero temperature or stand out in 30 mph wind or wait in one place for 3 hours just to get a neat picture of a lighthouse or a bridge or a waterfall – I realize I do it all for sheer pleasure of capturing the beauty of the moment.

One day I might go out and do something full time in photography. Till then, my camera would just be my good travel companion like it has been so far and an object of jealousy for my fiancé!